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5 secret bath cleaning tips

Is your bathtub in need of a thorough clean? Find out how to remove soap scum, limescale, and get your bathtub spotless with this helpful guide.


how to clean a bathtub

The bathtub should be a place of cleanliness, but keeping it so can sometimes be a chore.

Read on for our top 5 bath cleaning tips – from killing mould to how to clean bathtub and faucet stains – so you can get the job done quickly.

If you want a gentle cleaner for your bathtub, try washing it with warm water and biological laundry detergent, such as Surf Liquid Detergent Antibacterial. Bio detergents are designed to breakdown organic grime and grease, making it ideal for most bathtub stains.

1. Identify your bath material

There are three main types of bathtub and the method for cleaning the bath is different in each case. The first thing to do is to find out what type you have: porcelain, enamel, or acrylic?

Cleaning the Bath: Porcelain 

Made of very hard clay, porcelain baths are the most hard-wearing and, consequently, the easiest to clean. Most standard cleaners will do –we recommend  to remove grime easily.

Cleaning the Bath: Enamel

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Enamel bathtubs have a metal base with a layer of glass over the top. Though this glass (enamel) is hard, it isn’t totally immune to scratching. Additionally, corrosive cleaners can work their way to the metal base and badly damage it if you’re not careful.

If you need to know to remove stains in an enamel bathtub then a mild cream cleaner should be sufficient. Just make sure you don't use anything too rough like abrasive powder or a scouring pad. For extremely stubborn stains you can dilute 5ml of trisodium phosphates in 1l of water. Be careful as it is very powerful. Wear heavy gloves and don’t let it mix with other cleaners. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning the Bath: Acrylic

Acrylic baths are made of plastic and are therefore the most delicate of all. Scouring pads and abrasive cleaners should be avoided: a cream cleaner and a soft cloth are preferred instead. It’s a good idea to clean acrylic baths regularly so that hard scrubbing is never needed!

2. Learn how to clean bath faucets

Taps, or faucets, can be easily overlooked when cleaning bathtubs. Giving them a little attention is an easy way to lift the whole appearance. 

  • Clean the worst of any grime using a small brush and a bathroom cleaning spray - an old toothbrush is ideal.

  • If there is rust, specialised commercial products are available to tackle it effectively. Follow the instructions on the label carefully.

  • Consider buffing with metal polish and a rag to get your faucets really sparkling!

Safety Warning 

Always wear gloves, keep the room well ventilated while cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Tackle difficult stains like soap scum

If allowed to build-up, soap scum can prove near-impossible to remove. It’s best to prevent it entirely with regular cleaning with something mild like Cif Cream. If you’re stuck trying to remove old stains, strong ammonia can help to shift it. This is very powerful, so wear protection and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

4. Remove hard water stains from the bath

Since rainwater is naturally slightly acidic, it can dissolve minerals which then end up in the water supply and, eventually, your bath. This flaky residue can be pretty unattractive, but don’t worry: mild acid can help to remove it. A little lemon juice should be all you need.

5. Banish mould from your bathtub

If you own a fitted bath, a nasty ring of mould can grow on the sealant. Wiping with a diluted solution of Domex should be enough to remove it (be careful if your bath is enamel). If there is a lot of mould, it might be a sign that your sealant is trapping water and should be replaced.

Key steps

  1. Find out what type of bath you have and learn how to clean that material.

  2. Deal with any extra bits, such as taps, mould or limescale.

  3. Clean the body of the tub as described.

  4. Don’t forget to read the instructions for any cleaning products before use!

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published